Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Catching up with China

Picture of Mongolia by Lu Guang

A recent headline on the front page of the Chronicle: "Lawmakers OK bill to soften environmental reviews":

...Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, who championed the bill: "We are not doing anything to weaken key environmental laws, but if we can resolve disputes faster than not, good projects will be done sooner."

On the other hand, "bad" projects may also be done sooner. The whole point of the law they're watering down---the California Environmental Quality Act, aka "CEQA"---is to determine the impact projects will have on the environment before they are implemented.

As I've pointed out before, the Bicycle Coalition has long complained about CEQA and the Level of Service standard for doing traffic studies, which they'd like to do away with so that they and the city could jam up traffic on busy streets---taking away traffic lanes and street parking to make bike lanes---without having to worry about CEQA. Now the SFBC has both Democrats and Republicans willing to join them in diluting a good law, though the Chronicle story is about fast-tracking stadium deals, not bike lanes. But the precedent is now there.

High-speed rail supporters like President Obama keep saying that we need to catch up with China, which, until lately, hasn't worried much about its environment (see photo above).

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The "progressive" art genre hits the lower Haight

Photo by Alan Bamberger published in the SF Chronicle

From the lower Haight Street message board:

Last night the front of the loft condos at 645 Haight St was hit hard by taggers. I called SFPD and Officer Burke responded to file a formal report including taking photos of the damage. Officer Burke did an outstanding job of showing concern, issuing a case number and taking photographs. In the eight years I've lived in here this is the most extensive tagging I've seen. There's been a spike in graffiti in the neighborhood including residential, commercial and sidewalks. While this is low on the crime scale this issue shouldn't go unreported and ignored. Does anyone know if the graffiti unit of SFPD have a relationship with our neighborhood and are they paying any attention to extent of damage that's being done in Lower Haight?

I also want to point out there was a story floating around recently on a local blog about the guy who's painting salmon fish on sidewalks. The article was legitimizing this graffiti as street art. Cute or not, it's illegal, ugly, and the tagger should be cited.

The annual cost of covering up graffiti on our building alone would be in the thousands of dollars if we didn't have a dedicated owner in our building keep on top of the weekly tags.

It would be a staggering number if we calculated the time and money it takes to remove graffiti in the Lower Haight neighborhood.


Mark understands that this form of vandalism is sanctioned by many city progressives, including Matt Gonzalez and Bay Guardian editor Tim Redmond. The city spends a lot of money dealing with this form of vandalism, and it would be helpful if progressives stopped enabling it.

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Steve Yarger is not forgotten

A message in the email bag:

Thank you for posting the homeless deaths. I found out my one time best friend who disappeared back to the streets died in 2008 from a fight. His name was Steve "Stone" Yarger. One of the nicest people you could ever meet. I miss him. Love You Stone! Stay cool up there! See you when I get there. BN